LaMelo Ball won Rookie of the Year in 2020-21, and continued establishing himself as one of basketball’s brightest young stars last season en route to his first All-Star appearance. Just imagine how much better the Charlotte Hornets franchise player will be going forward now that he finally has his preferred number.
The Hornets unveiled a first look at Ball wearing No. 1 on Friday.
Always been 1️⃣ of 1️⃣@MELOD1P | 🕺 💕 pic.twitter.com/lIAsvwMr0P
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) July 29, 2022
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported earlier this month that Ball would finally make the long-desired change. Ball even chalked up his team’s April play-in tournament loss to the Atlanta Hawks to missing No. 1.
“I ain’t never supposed to wear 2 again in my life,” he said, per Jerry Donatien of ClutchPoints.
Ball spent his first two seasons in the NBA donning the No. 2 because backup guard Malik Monk, wearing No. 1, was still playing for the Hornets when he entered the league. Though Monk spent last season with the Los Angeles Lakers, Ball was unable to switch his jersey number until 2022-23 due to a year waiting period aligning with NBA rules.
“I feel like No. 1 is just me, so I just want to be me out there,” he said at Media Day last September. “Playing at No. 2, it just doesn’t it doesn’t feel right. I mean last year was cool because my brother, I said I’ll be No. 2 for him because he ain’t play his rookie year or whatever, I think he got hurt or something, so I wore No. 2 for him, but it doesn’t feel right.”
Ball’s No. 2 was the 14th-highest selling jersey on NBAStore.com during the second half of last season. Needless to say, expect him to rank much higher on that list in 2022-23, whether the supposedly magic powers of No. 1 lead to a career-best campaign or not.